ABDUL WAHAB KHAN | NT
The five-member expert committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to examine the management of sewage treatment, discharge of the sewage/garbage and the operation of the sewage treatment plant (STP) on the bank of River Mandovi has observed in its last three inspections that the offshore casinos are not polluting the river.
The committee was directed to inspect the four offshore casinos – MV Horseshoe (Deltin Royale), MV Casino Royale (Deltin Jacq), MV Boa Sorte and MV Pride of Goa – and also a STP at Tonca at least once in every four months starting from September last year.
The panel has so far completed three inspections at the regular interval of four months. The last inspection report was prepared on June 23 this year. The next inspection is likely to be scheduled in October.
The NGT-appointed panel comprises of assistant professor of National Institute of Technology, Goa; director of the state environment department, chief scientist of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Captain of Ports and the member secretary of Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB).
The order was passed by the Pune bench of the NGT on a petition filed by activist Sudip Tamhankar alleging that the offshore casinos have been causing water pollution. However, the matter has been disposed giving directions to the GSPCB to take measures and conduct checks on the casino vessels.
Observations made by the inspection committee in all its three inspection reports state that all the four casino vessels generate 3.6 KL/D to 22 KL/D of waste water, which is carried to the STP at Tonca by way of night soil tankers after opening the seal in the presence of GSPCB and CoP officials.
“Monitoring for the discharge of waste water from vessel into the night soil tanker is carried out in the presence of authorised officials thereby maintaining proper records and all vessels are fitted with electromagnetic flow meters for inlet of fresh water with a seal for the discharge of sewage water. Moreover, the stored bilge oil in the vessels is sent to the registered disposal agencies,” states the panel report.
The panel has noted that the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) has since May stopped collecting the wet/dry waste from the casino operators. As a result, 85-121 kilos of dry/wet waste generated by the vessels daily are being either transported to the CCP garbage segregation unit by their own vehicle or to their own composting plant. The panel has stated in its report that the CCP should continue collecting the dry/wet waste regularly.
Though the casino vessels have provided separate garbage bins for segregating different types of waste, the NGT panel has, however, pointed out the improper labelling of the bins and further instructed the casino operators to maintain similar colour coding on bins that are placed in all sections of the casino with same size and colour background so as to make it more visible and readable.
The panel has also recommended to the casino operators to maintain register for recording the details of quantities of waste generated with category, source, nature, quantity vis-à-vis the detailed transportation and disposal details.
The panel has closely observed the functioning of the STP at Tonca and termed it as ‘working satisfactorily.’ The panel’s analysis indicates that the STP’s capacity is quite sufficient to sustain the load of sewage received from the casino vessels through the night soil tankers.